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Fiona's Healing Journey

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in healing, originally published in issue 52 - May 2000

Last month I discussed Fiona's case study on Lupus from a nutritional point of view, which is one of the most important aspects of any healing process. Other major areas involved in her journey included psychological and spiritual issues, with acceptance being the first hurdle to overcome.

Fiona worked her way through five major steps to accepting her illness, which were: denial; anger; bargaining; grief and integration.

She handled each stage in her own way, in her own pain, and in her own time. Sometimes she would take backward steps, which is often a necessary process in coming to terms with illness, but she never stopped moving through the experiences of them. She understood that it wasn't a weakness to be in denial as it helped her to overcome the initial shock of her illness. She learnt not to be afraid to experience anger or be frightened to bargain or grieve. Finally, she adapted by integrating the illness into her life and finding the inner peace necessary for her healing.

Learning to accept her condition gave Fiona the strength to unravel, confront and resolve further spiritual issues. And as she was doing this, she found that her Lupus was gradually moving into remission.

Fiona's Story

My name is Fiona. I am 33 years old and a mother of three children. I have always been fit, healthy and lived life fully. Then, two years ago my body seized up, and I was barely able to move, had no energy and lost weight. The diagnosis my rheumatologist gave me was Lupus. I was shocked, as I never thought that I would ever have a disease. The rheumatologist also said, "You chose quite well, it could have been worse, as this one is not fatal." I thought it was a curious thing to say at the time, and would recall his words later.

I was sent to the Graham Hughs clinic at St Thomas's Hospital for drug treatment. At first the drugs seemed to work, but after a while I went downhill and was living in constant pain and fear. I felt so alone. I had three children who expected me to be the mummy they were used to, and I wanted to scream out – "I just can't!" How could anyone understand how I was feeling when I looked so normal to the outside world? Why was this happening to me? I felt so angry.

Every visit to the hospital revealed a worsening of my condition. The inflammation in my joints had tripled, the disease was taking more of a hold and I was taking stronger drugs.

I started searching for self-help books. I read Bernie Siegal's Peace, Love and Healing, and the messages I received were 'responsibility' and 'attitude'. Firstly, who was responsible for getting me better? The doctors who spent at least seven years in medical school dehumanizing themselves? Or was it up to me? Secondly, I learnt that my own attitude towards my illness could affect my healing. Then I read Deepak Chopra's books Quantum Healing and Perfect Health. The message I got was that I could seriously help myself, but it involved the mind and spirit as well as the body. I then learnt through Louise Hay's book You Can Heal Your Life to love myself.

I needed to change and to do this I looked back over my life, my experiences and my childhood. I had to explore whether or not I was willing to understand, confront and grieve for the painful elements of the past and present. I finally decided to take responsibility for myself for the first time and to stop feeling a victim.

I found June, a nutritionist and counsellor, who really believed that I could get better. We discussed my journey and June was the first person since I had been ill who suggested nurturing my immune system to encourage it to help itself, which to me made complete sense.

I told the doctors that I didn't want to take all the drugs and was choosing an alternative route to healing, and would return if I had no success. I had to try, but felt a little scared and prayed that I would be right. Since I have been seeing June I have made slow but steady progress and now my body feels strong. I have followed a fairly strict regime of incredibly healthy food, loads of different vegetables, oily fish and gallons of carrot juice with greens. Through testing by kinesiology I have avoided all the foods that I react badly to, and it has helped enormously.

Psychologically, I am sorting out a much healthier attitude to life. I now consider my own needs and do give time to myself. I make it a priority to relax and meditate daily, and the rewards for giving myself some time and love is like watching a beautiful bud blossom into a flower. But I am not just watching it I am truly feeling the metamorphosis myself, as I am the flower.

Spiritually, I have grown and learnt so much. The comment from the rheumatologist: "You chose quite well" I now understand more clearly as I believe that the Lupus was partly caused by me, by my own lack of self-love and my determination to remain a victim until my spirit could take no more. So, I was given a nasty shock to shake me awake, and remember my spirit to myself. Now, I see more clearly, and I am grateful for the wake-up call, and although not in remission yet, I feel positive that I will get there with love and faith.

I have enormous gratitude to the authors whose books have helped me and I am deeply honoured to have met the amazing people to whom my healing journey has introduced me.

As for the future, apart from learning and growing, loving my kids and being happy, I would really like to help others to heal themselves as I feel my knowledge and experiences are too important not to pass on to others.

Books

Siegal B, MD. Peace Love and Healing. Rider Publishers. ISBN 0 7126 3605 6. 1990.

Chopra D, MD. Quantum Healing. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing. ISBN 0 553-5368 X. 1989.

Chopra D, MD. Perfect Health. Bantam Books. ISBN 1 86359 0072. 1990.

Hay LL. You Can Heal Your Life. Eden Grove Editions. ISBN 1 870845 01 3. 1984.

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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;  junebutlin@btinternet.com

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